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BRAC Meeting – November 18, 2019

Agenda
Handout
Minutes

Call to Order – 7:30 p.m.

Attendance
BRAC: Ms. Burgess, Ms. Garrigan-Piela, Mr. Jeffers, Mr. Pratt, Mr. Romanowski, Ms. Romero, Ms. Tooker
Board/Admin: Mr. Simons, Mr. Edson
Guests: Dr. Steele (CASDA)

Attendance Zones Study – Draft Report
Mr. Simons reviewed the history of why the attendance zones study was requested from CASDA. He spoke of potential space issues that were identified at Bell Top as part of the 2019-2020 budget process. Accordingly, a transitional plan was developed, with community input, until long-term options could be considered. The transitional plan included moving the CTAEP program to Citizen Genet and leaving the Dutch Acres North neighborhood in the Bell Top zone, based on the suggestions received in community forums. The plan also included a number of new families being assigned to Citizen Genet or Red Mill schools. Mr. Bordick started the study, which has been completed by Dr. Steele.

Dr. Steele presented a draft K-5 redistricting study. It was suggested that the report be renamed “attendance zones study” since there are no recommendations for redistricting within the report.

Dr. Steele reviewed the following sections of the report:

  • Introduction – from the point2homes.com website for demographics of the East Greenbush Central School District. Dr. Steele noted the increase in the number of homes built in the District from 2000 and 2009.
  • Purpose of the study – Dr. Steele said the study is designed to answer 3 questions:
    • What is the impact of the projected enrollments on the current capacity of the five elementary schools?
    • What is the impact of current and proposed construction projects being conducted within the towns that constitute the East Greenbush Central School District?
    • What policy changes should be considered by the East Greenbush Central School District regarding elementary school attendance zones affected by growth within the district?
  • Purpose of the study – Dr. Steele emphasized the study is not designed to disrupt families currently residing within the District and who have children currently enrolled in any of the elementary schools. Based on the recommendations of the report, only families who do not currently have children in any elementary school within the district may be affected by these recommendations
  • Methodology – Data collection was from a review of current and proposed construction in the district, historical enrollment data, BEDS (Basic Educational Data Survey), principal interviews, realtor interviews, and BRAC meetings.
  • Enrollment history – Data was from the Capital District Regional Planning Commission Study, inclusive of historical enrollment and projections for 2019-2020 to 2023-2024.
  • Elementary sections – Sections for elementary classes average 20.2 students, with some variation by building and by individual grade levels. Some grade levels are higher in order to avoid multi-age classrooms.
  • Enrollment implications – The District’s agreement with the East Greenbush Teachers Association sets maximum class sizes at 25 for Kindergarten, 27 at grades 1-5, 28 at grades 6-8, and 30 at grades 9-12. It was noted that four classrooms at Red Mill, currently occupied by BOCES programs, will be vacated at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
  • Residential and commercial growth – Dr. Steele presented listing of planned projects in the towns of East Greenbush and North Greenbush.
  • Housing development impact – Dr. Steele presented the impact of four housing developments
  • Regeneron and Amazon – These commercial developments could have a housing impact within three to five years.
  • Sales of existing homes – There is little to no current inventory of existing homes within the district according to an interview with a local realtor.
  • Count Me In campaign – There is a benefit to having a continuous mechanism to count the number of preschool children residing in the district. As the district continues to grow, it is imperative to have as much accurate data as possible.
  • Recommendations – Dr. Steele has five recommendations within his report:
    • Create a formal policy to address enrollment growth in order to balance class size among the elementary schools. (Sample local policies involving flexible attendance zones are attached to the report.)
    • Continue cohort survival studies through CDRPC and the Count Me In campaign to inform enrollment projections.
    • Work with local real estate agencies to monitor the sale of existing homes.
    • An inventory of available space in the elementary schools should be done as soon as possible again for future planning purposes.
    • The Budget Review and Advisory Committee should monitor these issues for the district. Committee members made a number of suggestions on presentation of charts and maps, and correction of typographical errors.

Adjournment – 8:45 p.m.